Continuing on yesterday’s topic… Obviously, players can thrive with lots of strikeouts. It just makes it more difficult. Two names that were mentioned in this topic were Ryan Howard and Adam Dunn. Howard has a good walk rate and hit enough line drives that when he did hit the ball he had a good chance of getting a hit, especially a homer (last year, 78 of his 153 hits were for extra bases). But Howard also illustrates the limits of this approach. Because he doesn’t walk a ton, he can’t hit in the .250s and put up a good OBP; last year, it was .339. He’s arrested some of his batting average decline this season, but has lost power. He really isn’t a star-quality player anymore.

Adam Dunn is an extreme example of a “type”, a low-average power hitter who walks 100 times a year. If you do that and hit 40 homers a year like clockwork (Dunn has hit exactly that many for four years in a row) you can be a successful player hitting .236. There aren’t many who could. Harmon Killebrew, who is on Dunn’s similar players list, was like that. (Reggie Jackson also appears on Dunn’s comp list, but his relatively low batting averages in his prime are really a context illusion.) Like Howard, Dunn is a poor defensive player, and this limits his value, and probably his future.

The Braves, in the Schuerholz-Cox regime, have never really had a player like that. Ryan Klesko had some of the characteristics, but never (even in San Diego when he played every day) finished in the top ten in walks or strikeouts, and his career batting average with the Braves was .281. Dave Justice had years when he hit .253 and .256, but those were atypical years, granting that it’s hard to define a “typical” Justice year. Andruw Jones probably comes closest to the type, and like Dunn had uncanny home run consistency, but he really didn’t strike out that much, never finishing higher than eighth in the league, and never finished in the top ten in walks.

At any rate, to thrive with lots of strikeouts, there’s one thing you need, and that’s power, and usually POWER. And Jordan Schafer does not have that.